Fish make an appearance many times in the Bible. Here are three ideas to help you introduce some of those stories to your group.
What’s in the Whale’s Tummy?
The book of Jonah tells us that Jonah was inside the stomach of a large fish (traditionally a whale but the Bible says ‘large fish’), for three days and three nights. What else might have been in there?
You will need :
Large sheets of plain paper, foil, strips of blue paper for the sea, a cut-out of Jonah (template online at childrenswork. co.uk); items to fill the whale’s stomach such as shells, coins, cut outs of fish and starfish, glue, crayons and felt tips
Draw a simple outline of a whale onto a large sheet of paper. The one shown is made from two sheets from a flip chart stuck together. For reasons of scale there isn’t a template for the whale online, but there are lots that can be used free on the web. Use strips of foil to make the spout and strips of paper for the sea – the one shown uses tissue paper. Invite the children to draw things that might be in a whale’s tummy and to stick them onto the whale. Or you could use actual items, or both. The coins we have used are rubbings. The suggestions might get a bit gruesome but don’t worry (within reason) as it can’t have been much fun for Jonah either!
A Basket of Lunch
The story of how Jesus fed a crowd with just two fish and five loaves of bread can be found in Matthew 14: 13-21.
You will need :
A paper plate for each child, scissors, a stapler or sticky tape, fish shapes and loaf shapes (the fish shapes are the same as for ‘miraculous catches’ ) strips of card or paper, felt tips or crayons
For the basket make eight evenly spaced cuts of roughly equal length from the edge of the paper plate towards the centre. Bend each cut segment in and then fasten each one to its neighbour – again, see the picture online. Use staples or sticky tape for this, not glue. If you are worried about little fingers getting scratched, have an adult use the stapler and pop sticky tape over the back of the staples. Fasten a strip of card or paper across the folded plate as a handle then fill the lunch basket with fish and loaves. Alternatively, invite the children to draw what they might choose for a picnic lunch onto the plate before they make it into a basket. Encourage them to imagine sharing their lunch with Jesus like the boy in John’s gospel (John 6:9-11).
Jesus helped his disciples to catch enormous numbers of fish in their nets. See Luke 5: 1-11.
You will need :
Fish shapes cut from card, foam or paper , fruit or vegetable nets, string, wool or ribbon, glue, items to decorate the fish such as foil, felt tips, sequins and buttons
Invite the children to decorate a few of the fish shapes. Small black buttons make good eyes and sequins can give a shimmery, scale-like effect. Or they might like to use the colours of their favourite football team! To make the nets, thread some ribbon, wool or string through a few of the holes at the top of a net bag such as those most supermarkets use to package oranges and satsumas. (Younger children may need some help with this.) Pop the fish into your net and haul in your miraculous catch!